Another Interview with Richard Marshall


(c), john shepherd, 2009

I met Richard at his townhouse this time around. It was late at night by the time we both found a few minutes to talk that day. He opened the door and greeted me with a smile and a nod. He was in faded jeans, a plain white T-shirt, and equally white athletic socks with no shoes. He looked good doing the casual thing.

He leaned against the open door, and I could tell he was happy to see me, not the least bit nervous of what I might ask. He’d given this interview more consideration than the last one. Now he had me all figured out.

Or so he thought.

As I made my way inside, I mentally tossed out the questions I’d prepared, trying to come up with new ones that he wouldn’t have anticipated.

I sat in a chair in the living room, and he chose the couch across from me. I crossed my legs and opened my notepad, clicked my pen so I was ready. He rested one ankle on the opposite knee, his left arm draped over the back of the open space on the couch beside him. He looked at home in that pose. Or maybe it was the room we were in. Maybe it was just him and where he was in his life.

Or maybe I was wrong about all that.

The living room wasn’t as neat as I’d expected based on my first visit to the same house. Although, nothing much was out of order. The only signs of disarray were a haphazard stack of magazines on the coffee table between us and loose office papers on the far end of the couch.

The room just seemed to project a sense of unease, like his carefully ordered life had been altered slightly by something—or someone.

I gave the papers on the couch a quick glance, trying not to let him see my attempt at determining if the unexpected clutter was his, Matthew’s, or Luke’s.

“You’re awfully quiet this time,” he said. “Is everything okay?”

I was taken aback by his words, and even more by the concern in his voice.

“I’m fine.”

I hadn’t expected him to give me much thought. I always figured he spent our time together thinking about the reason I was there—to learn more about him and the men in his life.

I should’ve known better. This was Richard.

I was touched that he considered me at all, and even more that he genuinely cared if I was okay.

His relaxed demeanor had slipped away. He was intensely scrutinizing me. “Are you a happy person, Sloan?”

I watched him in return. I wanted to remind him he wasn’t writing a book about me, but I didn’t want to give him any ideas. “I just get focused when I’m writing.” I probably came across as too serious, too internally preoccupied. “Yes, I’m happy. More than I’ve ever been. You?”



The surprised, almost angered look that flashed across his face wasn’t something I’d seen from him before. He unfolded his leg, leaned forward, elbows on his knees as he kept those serious green eyes focused on me. The empty space between us seemed to shrink in an instant, and he hadn’t left the couch.

“No matter what is going on with me or my business, I have them. That’s what matters to me. That’s all I need to be happy.” He’d pointed toward the stairs in the hall on the word them.

“Just because you want something to be true doesn’t—”

“Watch it…”

The tone of his voice convinced me to move on.

I indicated the staircase with a tilt of my head. “Are they in bed?”


“And you’re stuck here talking to me?”

He nodded, then eased back against the couch again, his voice returning to the more casual tone he’d started our conversation with. “You like to do that sometimes, try to throw me off my usual routine, shake me up a bit.”

Apparently he did have me all figured out. He really needed to stop giving me that much thought.

I said, “You know, I was thinking about Luke the other day.”

“Yeah?” He glanced into the hall, and a grin hit his lips. “I do that a lot too.”

That I do know about you.”

We both laughed.

“Is he happy?” I asked when the laughter died off.

“Luke? Yeah.”

I could hear the hesitation in that last word.

When I didn’t ask anything more, he looked my way and added, “He has a few things to work out.”

“About his dad?”

He didn’t say anything to that. Instead he asked, “Is that why you were thinking about him? Wondering if he got his happy ending?”

“Actually, no. I was thinking about how very different the two of you are. Despite how closed off he was, Luke just jumped into my skin and started typing, telling his story, the words flowing as if he’d been dying to get them out, whether he wanted to admit that in the beginning or not. But you… You’re a conundrum. You rely on communication like it’s the air you breathe, yet you hold a lot inside. You have no trouble telling me the details of events. Sometimes you even share what you’re feeling, and then sometimes you don’t. Why is that?”

He hesitated again. Or maybe he was trying to find the right words. “What I’m feeling, my emotions… Those are things people will use against me if given the chance?”

“What people? Luke and Matthew?”



He laughed again at that. “If it were just you, I might be compelled to share more, but you’ll just end up telling everyone else.”

“That’s what a writer does.”

He gave an amused snort and nodded. “Touché.”

“So I’ve got most of your story figured out, but there are just a couple of holes I need to fill in.”

“And you would like me to make that easier for you?”

“I would, yes.”

“All right.” He was back to his signature knowing grin that slightly curled the corners of his lips. His arm was lounging over the top of the couch again. “You went into this thinking it would be Luke who’d pushed me to see things more clearly. You forget that ultimately change comes from within. That certain spark, that characteristic that I need in order to overcome my greatest conflicts, is already a part of me. I just have to push aside my own obstacles—the ones I’ve been pretending don’t exist.” He stopped, and I knew he wouldn’t admit what those obstacles were. Not out loud. Not yet.

Then he spoke again. “You also forget how smart Matthew is about these things. He knows what he wants now, and in the end, he won’t settle for less.”

“The end of this book or the next?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Now that’s a good question for the writer.”

And with those words, I knew that was all I was going to get from him right then. We’d get a chance to talk more when we got back to working on the story.

As we said our good-byes, I was left pondering what exactly it was that Matthew wanted.

*Richard is a character in MORE and MORE THAN MOST (the in-progress sequel to MORE). You can read the first interview with Richard on my website.


Who’s Gary? I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours

I dedicated my latest novel, HOW TO SAVE A LIFE, to one very special young man named Gary. Who is he? I wrote a guest post several years ago where I shared about Gary, my very first love. Since How to Save a Life’s been out for a few weeks, I thought I’d repost that old blog entry for anyone who’d like to know more about the story behind the dedication.

The following was originally posted at Fiction with Friction on March 25th, 2010.

My first release is available at Loose Id this week, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. The book is titled MORE and is the story of a confirmed loner who breaks all his rules for two men he meets at a sex club. Too bad his father will do almost anything to put a stop to the relationship.

Writing and submitting a book was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. And with its release I’ve been thinking a lot on life and goals and love and risks.

Thinking about all that took me back in time to my very first love.

He was an older boy who lived down the street from me and wanted to play “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” Uh, get your minds out of the gutter, folks. He was talking about my horse and his goat.

And no, those aren’t some special code words for penis and vajayjay. I grew up on a farm. I really had a horse. And he really had a goat.

There was much discussion on the deal. I think it went like this…

Gary: “I’ll bring my goat tomorrow.”

Me: “Okay.”

Gary: “You can show me your horse.”

Me: “Okay.”

I think I mentioned he was older than I, and I was seriously crushing on him, so words weren’t my forte right then. I was lucky I could form single syllables.

The next day, he dragged that goat almost a mile from his house to mine along a major two-lane US highway. I can just imagine all the truckers and summer vacationing families laughing at this kid walking his goat down the center of the ditch, the blazing sun beating down on them, sweat dripping off his brow, the stubborn goat stopping every few steps, and Gary dragging it by the little rope he had looped around her neck. You really would have thought Gary was getting a piece of ass for how much effort he went to with that goat. That boy loved horses.

I would’ve loved a kiss, but I never did get to kiss Gary.

After the horse/goat deal, we didn’t see each other as much. When it came time for me to go to the same high school as he, I decided I’d work up the nerve to talk to him again. It was my chance to get him to notice me. I had it all planned out. I was going to be lost, wandering by his locker and have to ask him how to find my next classroom. Not the greatest setup, but I was fourteen. Give me a break.

Never did get to try it out, though. Gary was killed in a car crash before the school year started. As far I know, he never did get to ride a horse.

That’s a regret I still carry with me. I should have asked Gary if he wanted to take my horse out for a ride, even if it meant I’d get in trouble when my parents got home. I should’ve offered. I should’ve asked.

I should’ve kissed him.

If I had only known that summer we spent together was the only one I was ever going to have, I would have taken a chance sooner.

Sometimes taking a risk is the best option. So my advice…if there’s ever something you really want to try but are afraid to, don’t let the fear stop you. I wanted to write a novel about three men who meet on the same night and fall in love. I guess…dreams really do come true.

So what was your first love? Your first crush? Did you kiss? Hold hands? Come on, I’m feeling nostalgic. Share…

Good luck to each of you on making your own dreams come true.

Playlist for HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

(c), MCCAIG 2006

Here are a few of the songs I listened to while writing HOW TO SAVE A LIFE (which has an updated blurb). For each song, some of the lyrics and/or the tone really spoke to me when it came to Kevin and Walter. The blend of passion, emotion, and suspense with this story led to an interesting mix of songs for these guys.

Most of the YouTube videos for these wouldn’t play embedded in the page, so I’ve linked to each. I tried to use the original artist’s version where possible.


All my blog posts with behind the story information are also available on my website.

Friday Photo: Nearly Finished Manuscript for HOW TO SAVE A LIFE

(c) Sloan Parker 2012

My beta readers are going through the final pages now, and then it’s off to my editor! I’ll keep you posted when I know more about a release date.

More Zodiac Signs for MORE

While updating my website, I realized I never added Luke’s Zodiac info to my More Behind the Story page. I’ve also included it below. I’m getting geared up to work on book 2 with Luke, Richard, and Matthew. Can’t wait to tell more of their story. I’ll be sharing news, snippets, and interviews as I work on the book so stay tuned. More to come…

Character: Luke Moore
Book: More
Zodiac Sign: Taurus

  1. “Underneath their cool, calm and collected exterior, Taureans differ greatly from all the other signs of the zodiac. Taureans manage to discreetly stay apart from the crowd, even though they have a well-earned reputation for being socialisers.”
  2. “And, there is no such thing as an open-book Taurean.”
  3. “Their feelings, fears and desires often run far deeper than anyone around them would guess.”
  4. “Most Taureans like their creature comforts and hate change because it takes them out of their automatic pilot condition of separating themselves from the world around them.”

Zodiac Source

All my blog posts with behind the story information are also available on my website.